On Friday, August 14, the Supreme Committee responsible for handling Oman's response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic announced that the nightly ban on unnecessary movement between 21:00 to 05:00 (local time) would be lifted from Saturday, August 15. The committee urged citizens to continue to follow other precautions in place following the lifting of the curfew, including social distancing, wearing face masks in public, and the use of hand sanitizers.
Omani authorities began lifting restrictions on movement on August 8, with the exception of Dhofar province, where restrictions remain in place until further notice. Businesses have gradually been able to resume operations, under strict health protocols. Public gatherings remain banned and educational and religious institutions remain closed until further notice.
Commercial flights, both domestic and international, remain suspended into and out of Oman, except for cargo, humanitarian, and repatriation flights. Flights between Muscat International Airport (MCT) and Khasab Airport (KHB) in Musandam province are also exempt. Omani citizens who wish to travel abroad will have to apply for permission from authorities and will be required to quarantine for 14 days on return to the country. Foreigners remain prohibited from entering the country.
As of August 15, there have been 82,743 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Oman and 557 associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is expected in the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Since then, human-to-human transmission of the virus has been confirmed.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may experience other symptoms such as body pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell or a rash on skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms (in most cases mild) appear gradually. Generally, most patients (around 80 percent) recover from the disease without being hospitalized.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, seek medical care urgently and share your previous travel history with your health care provider.